Pandemic July 4th: what’s blooming now?

Fireworks aren’t blooming in the skies of the USA’s small towns this July 4th, but wild raspberries, wild garlic, and Bee Balm are making a natural red, white and blue sky display. You will have to imagine the colors. In this nature journal drawing, I used a black pen and ink wash.

Ink drawing of raspberries, Bee Balm and wild garlic
Bee Balm, Garlic and Thistle, pen and ink

Pandemic Sketchbook: botanicals in color

Four drawings of plants
Four Botanicals, watercolor

Four color sketches of what was blooming in May and June during our strict Stay at Home phase in the New York City metropolitan area. I bring back leaves and blooms from my daily walks, or from my garden, to draw in my studio. These were sketched in pencil, then watercolor or watercolor pencil added next, and sometimes they were inked as the last step. I love seeing video demonstrations of nature journalists sketching outside with their portable camp stools and tiny sketching kits, but the comfort of my small indoor studio is so tempting. Now that the sticky, hot northeastern USA summer is here, my air conditioner is also very tempting. Maybe plain air painting is in my future, but not the near future, I suspect.

Pandemic sketchbook: my (very brief) Blue Period

Drawing of an iris
Iris, watercolor pencil
Wild Aster drawing
Wild Aster, watercolor pencil
Drawing of a house finch
House Finch, watercolor pencil

I have been drawing nature finds and things growing in my garden for quite a while in the Before Times or BC, Before Corona virus. I think of my style as not very precise botanical drawings. So I kept drawing things from the natural world in my Pandemic Sketchbook, things I spotted on my daily walks when the lockdown was very strict here in the New York metropolitan area. Everyone was walking and walking in the neighborhood, partly because everything was closed and sitting at home was making people stir crazy, I suspect. Leaving my sketchbook aside when I found several pieces of blue card stock in a file cabinet, I drew some flowers and a visiting House Finch with watercolor pencils on the blue background. The paper could take a little bit of water with a small brush and some blending with a tortillon . I also realized I can wet the point of the pencil to get texture. After three drawings, I ran out of this color and moved on to something else. I’ve been trying different styles and techniques in my sketchbook and trying to use up the supplies I have in my studio rather than succumb to Pandemic online shopping syndrome. I see Amazon boxes piled on every door step on my daily walks. Now there’s a topic: delivery man carrying a teetering pile of boxes! It’s hot and humid summer now so people are back indoors in the air conditioning. Shops and things are opening up and traffic is increasing, and my extremely Blue Period is over for now. Let’s hope it doesn’t have a resurgence. (Metaphor alert there…)

Pandemic Sketchbook: self-portrait with bandana

Charcoal Portrait of a woman in a bandana
Self-portrait with bandana, charcoal pencil

This self-portrait is based on a photograph taken by a friend a couple of weeks ago. We were sitting on my front porch where I have two chairs spaced six feet apart. She wore a mask and I wore a bandana out of an excess of caution while we talked.

Small-Town Protest

Small town protest drawing
Small-Town Protest, pen and ink wash

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, the USA has a crisis within a crisis. After the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day, May 25, by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, nationwide protests brought out people demonstrating for Black Lives Matter and racial justice. From big cities to small towns, like the one where I live, there were demonstrations. I drew this pen and ink drawing in my Pandemic Sketchbook because our collective attention is now on more than just the coronavirus.